Be Sure to Keep a Travel Journal of Your Heritage Tourism – But, Paper or Digital?

The Heritage Tourist
a monthly column by Dr. Bill Smith

I want to talk to about keeping a travel journal, here, but first respond to the question, should my travel journal be on paper or digital? You should not be surprised that my advise is: Whatever works best for you, is what you should use. Thomas Jefferson urged Meriweather Lewis to use tree bark for his journal if it would be useful in preserving the information he was collecting on the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1804-1806. The same applies to your travel journal - just do it, whatever works best for you.


I got to thinking about travel journals this week when I read this lens on where I regular write about a number of issues. She has many useful ideas you may wish to adapt.


For maximum long-term benefit from your heritage tourism I am suggesting here that you not only keep travel journal entries for your travels but also of your planning and of your sharing of your trip following your return home. Do you do this now? Have you considered doing this? Let's talk about each of these three phases of your heritage tourism experience a bit and why recording each of them in your travel journal (paper, digital or other) may be beneficial to you now and in the future.


Journaling the process you go through to plan your heritage tourism adventure can be very helpful in better understanding and using your travel planning for the current trip as well as being useful as a reference tool for future trip planning. Taking the few extra minutes to actually write down your planning process can be very valuable to you. In the near-term, you can easily review why you came to a decision that you question later in the process. Oh, here is why we decided to visit the Monticello instead of Mount Vernon, for example, on this particular day. Also, when planning a future trip, being able to review this planning effort may save you time and effort on that future trip planning process.


Keeping a travel journal during your trip should be second nature. For one thing, it is very useful in identifying the details of photos that you took, later on. The combination of your planning notes and your trip notes should allow you to triangulate just about every detail of your trip. Your sharing and reporting of your trip will be more complete and it will be more accurate with the detailed contemporary information available in your travel journal.


Continuing to enter in your travel journal the sharing and reporting you do of your trip after the trip is over can also be very useful. If you write about your trip, in a blog or elsewhere, this is a very valuable resource. And, as noted earlier of the planning phase, having this information available for reference when planning and reporting on future trips can be very helpful both in terms of what went right and what went wrong when you shared information about this particular heritage travel experience. The feedback you receive should be recorded so that you can make the necessary adjustments on subsequent trips and reporting situations.


Do you keep a travel journal of your heritage tourism experiences? Will you know? I'd love to hear from you in the comments.


See you down the road! 😉


© Dr. Bill Smith 2012

This article originally appeared in the August 2012 issue of The In-Depth Genealogist. Receive The In-Depth Genealogist free by subscribing HERE.